Leather container covered entirely with cowrie shells, Niger
Credit: Science Museum,London. Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0

“African Kingdoms” is an A level option offered by the OCR A Level board, which for the first time makes precolonial African history available to A level students.¬†The option approaches four major kingdoms in West Africa:

(1), Songhay (also touching on the history of the earlier empire of Mali); (2) Dahomey and Oyo (in what are now the Republics of Benin and Oyo); (3) Kongo; (4) Benin.

The course has been developed as a collaboration between the OCR Assessment Board and Dr Toby Green, Senior Lecturer in Lusophone African History and Culture at King’s College London.

Students taking the OCR A Level option can take this option as their “foreign study” element of their A level course. Studying precolonial African history makes student applications stand out to universities as offering a different set of skills and the ability to tackle something new. It broadens the sense of what “History” is as a discipline, and introduces students to different approaches to historical sources and evidence, vital tools for a History degree. It also offers a new type of History, beyond the traditional “Hitler and the Henrys” approach which has characterised so much of the British school¬†History syllabus.

This website is a one-stop site with information about the course, resources, and information for teachers to design their schemes of work. It will also prove useful in locating resources for Key Stage 3 teachers teaching core aspects relating to the history of slavery and empire.

All efforts have been made to contact copyright holders where appropriate; any omissions will be rectified if brought to the attention of the website manager.